Google has announced that some ChromeOS users will finally be able to start testing Steam. During the Google for Games Developer Summit, Google’s product director for games, Greg Hartell, announced that “the Steam alpha just launched” for select Chromebooks.
It was a brief mention, but the software has been a long time coming — Google announced that it was working on Steam support for ChromeOS in the beginning of 2020, and there hasn’t been much info since. There have been whispers that we’d see it soon, though, as recent reports indicated that companies are working on gaming-focused Chromebooks.
Despite how long we’ve been waiting, the announcement comes as a bit of a surprise. As 9to5Google’s Kyle Bradshaw tweeted, people have been trying to learn more about Steam on ChromeOS for months, combing through code and developer comments — only for Google to announce it with a casual mention during a developer keynote.
That keynote also goes over Google’s revised plans for its Stadia service — the TL;DR is that it plans on introducing free demos and trials, as well as making things easier for developers. You can watch it here, or below (the Steam mention is about 14 minutes in).
It is understandable why Google would want to make the launch relatively quiet; given that it’s launching as an alpha, it’ll probably be a little rough around the edges. There’s also limited availability. Google didn’t mention which computers Steam will be available on, but 9to5Google has a list that it discovered last month. It includes the x86-powered laptops like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and the Asus Flip CX5, along with a few other models.
Hartell points viewers to the Chromebook Community Forum for more information, though it doesn’t seem like there are any official updates available there yet. We’ve reached out to Google and Valve for more information, and will let you know if we hear back.